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Minnesota National Guard
Fly the Flag program reaches milestone

COB BASRA, Iraq " "When I took on this program I never thought it would be this popular," said 2nd Lt Kenneth Toole of the Red Bull Visitors' Bureau "But when I am out there flying flags, it's not just an American Flag that I am flying  I am doing something for someone else"

"Popular" is quite an understatement The RBVB proudly flew their 3,000th flag over Contingency Operating Base Basra Dec 18, as part of the "Fly the Flag" program One of the flags was flown and presented to members of Serving Our Troops, an organization that recently hosted steak dinners in St Paul, Kuwait and COB Basra for Soldiers and their families 

Day after day, Toole and other members of the RBVB tote dozens of Star Spangled Banners out to the flagpole at the entrance to the MND-S Division Headquarters building 

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There, they diligently raise, properly salute, lower and carefully fold each and every flag, while passing foot traffic snaps to attention and silently pauses to pay tribute to Old Glory

Imagine doing that 238 times in one day, as the RBVB did Sept 11  During their busy days, some people might not have the patience or desire to complete such a task, but the Soldiers who volunteer their time to fly the flag have a different perspective

"Someone is going to give that flag as a gift To give a flag that has been flown over here means something to the person that has taken the time to buy the flag and bring it in," said Toole "It is a true gift from the heart"        

Toole, who was touched by photos of someone who received a flag he flew with tears in her eyes, understands how much of an impact this simple gesture can have 
       
"This program isn't just about the flags," explained Toole
"It's about doing something for someone else and being part of something bigger  In ten years people will have forgotten many of the projects we built or some of the tasks we completed  But for generations to come those flags that were flown here will still be displayed in someone's house or in an office and forever will they say that they were flown over COB Basra Iraq by the Soldiers of the 34th "˜Red Bull' Infantry Division during their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom"

"The program has been a great success and it has been an honor to fly the flags over Basra, however, as with all things it too will come to an end," Toole stated

The last day flags will be flown for the program is Jan 2, 2010  It is estimated that by that time the RBVB will have flown over 3,500 flags, a number that exceeds Toole's goal of 1,000

By Spc Stephanie Cassinos, MND-S
Dec 29, 2009


Article source: http://www.theredbulls.org/article00539



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Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."



Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."



Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."



Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.



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